Art in the Park 2009

By Dante Comparetto

Exalting, and provoking, the arts, sciences, and humanities have the power to build healthier, more livable, more vital communities. They are an essential part of a strong educational system, contribute enormously to our economy and builds bridges across cultures. They can be used to address–or better yet, prevent–some of our most stubborn social problems. They help us interpret our past and shape our future, and help us understand what it means to be human.

The impact of public art on a community is priceless and immeasurable and once experienced it only appreciates. Public Art has the power to energize our public spaces, arouse our thinking, and transform the places where we live, work, and play into more welcoming and beautiful environments that invite interaction. Art can make strangers talk, children ask questions, and calm a hurried life. It enhances the quality of life by encouraging a heightened sense of place and by introducing people to works of art that can touch them.

Investing in arts and culture is also investing in a talented workforce. Most people in economic development keenly understand that having vibrant arts and culture is just as important as having good infrastructure like roads and utilities. With the competitiveness there is to keep and retain employees and cities retaining college graduates, not having strong arts and culture puts our community at a severe disadvantage. We need cultural attractions to attract and retain quality people. Unfortunately, the arts and culture community has always been considered a second-class citizen when it comes to economic development. We may need good infrastructure such as roads and utilities, but more and more we also need good culture. Arts and culture not only enables businesses and organizations to thrive by affording them a vibrant place for employees to live after work, arts and culture organizations are businesses with employees. A vibrant cultural scene brings in community tourist dollars.

The Worcester Cultural Commission is a voluntary commission with the City of Worcester given the task of amongst other things working on the arts and cultural needs of our community as mandated by the City of Worcester’s Charter. We will be putting on our Second Annual Art in the Park event where we will be displaying Art for Worcesterites to experience. Our opening ceremony will be August 6th at 6pm when we will be revealing 24 strategically placed sculptures around our historic Elm Park. There will also be live music provided by Park Spirit, food and tours provided by the artists who created the sculptures. The whole event is free and will be great for the entire family. Small children will love the sculpture of colorful building blocks, and a structure that is reminiscent of a nomadic tribal domicile made entirely out of piano parts! Thinkers can come and contemplate Einstein’s Onion!

Other works include a sculpture made from downed branches from the ice storm, and a whimsical massive arch coming out of the pond made out of plastic lawn chairs. There will be floating storybook characters made from “found” materials such as trash bags and other recycled materials wired with lighting and hanging from trees from Marisa DiPaolo, and floating pieces that are meant to resemble pond blossoms from Brooke Doherty. You will see sculptures made from stained glass, Iron works that resemble planets, and a giant “toaster” that is made from an old VW minibus with neon lights in the interior that resemble the hot wires and two giant pieces of toast sticking out of the roof of the bus. There is Artwork that explores translucence and the play of light and shadows. Birds in Elm Park will have some competition for the most elaborate and beautiful ‘Bird’s Nests’ from Marcella Stasa. On August 6th at 6pm at Elm Park, I invite you to come observe, imagine and smile.

Dante Comparetto is a member of the Worcester Cultural Commission and an Urban Studies student at Worcester State College. Learn more at worcestermass.org.

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